A 12" x 24" (30 x 61 cm) tile is now considered an average size! Over the years, tile sizes have been getting larger and larger. Along with that, the problem of lippage is also becoming an issue. Thus, the invention of tile leveling and lippage systems. One of the fallacies of using these systems is that no matter what the substrate looks like, many installers believe that the lippage control system takes the place of floor preparation. This is not the case. These systems are designed to reduce the effects caused by slight variations in substrates and tiles. Lippage systems also hold tiles in place until the mortar dries.
Proper floor prep is mandatory, not voluntary. Tile Council of North America (TCNA) standards require 1/8" in 10' (3 mm in 3.05 m) flatness for tiles with at least one edge of 15" (38.1 cm) or longer. To achieve this, it is necessary that floors be prepared correctly – either by grinding of high spots or the use of patching compounds or self-levelers.
If substrates are not correctly prepped, issues can occur when using these systems. These include tiles being pulled and releasing off from the mortar, or the application of too much mortar to compensate for low spots.
So remember, leveling systems are an excellent aid to eliminating tile lippage; however, they are not a cure-all.
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